During this period, the teen brain is changing in amazing, yet challenging ways. We’re all hardwired for social connection, but during adolescence this focus increases exponentially. The brain changes at multiple times in development, but it’s most pronounced during this period.
Teens are making friends, and losing them; getting used to school, and preparing for college.
With so much change, it can be difficult to figure out what’s “normal teenager stuff” and what needs more attention. I work with teens to help them cope with these changes, build healthy relationships with friends and family, and make healthy choices for the future.
We primarily work with teens who are high-achieving and have issues relating to anxiety disorders, and traumatic stress, or struggle with issues like a lack of confidence, perfectionism, and imposter syndrome. We also work with teens who are gifted or “2e” or twice exceptional (gifted and have a neurodevelopmental disorder such as ADHD or learning issues).
He has been identified as “gifted” or highly intelligent but is very hard on himself
She worries more than others their age – about relationships, school, work, and just general life
Her worries are constant and overwhelming – it’s an endless loop that won’t stop
He worries so much that he disconnects from family and friends and has stopped doing activities
She is a high achiever and is so hard on herself when anything goes wrong
He was the kid you never had to worry about and now you worry about him all the time
She lost a relationship with a friend or partner and cannot stop focusing on it
He lost someone close to him or has experienced a traumatic event and you’re not sure how to help
She seems to have lost confidence in herself and has trouble asserting herself with peers
She picks her skin and cuticles or pulls her hair and can’t seem to stop
He always did well in school and sports and now has a hard time getting organized and completing tasks
When working with teens, I emphasize earning and maintaining their trust by always keeping it real and meeting them where they’re at. Parents are strongly encouraged to participate in sessions as a primary goal is to help improve the parent-teen relationship.
A teen once told one of our therapists (deidentified and changed to safeguard client confidentiality) something to the effect of “I had a big blow-up with my parents the night before when they told me they were bringing me. I had all of these things I was going to say when I met you. But I didn’t say any of them, because you were different. You were kind and you cared about me. You kind of ruined my plan.”
We care deeply about all of our clients, but it means everything to have the trust of a teen who is going through the most challenging yet most dynamic periods of life. We’ve all been there. We’ve all wished we had someone on our side, and who could help our parents get us.
If your child ever makes concerning statements about suicide or self-harm and you live in the Charlotte Metro area please check this local list of resources. You can:
go to your nearest emergency room or crisis center (Carolinas BHS or Novant Presbyterian) or
call the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team at 704-566-3410 (you can also call 911 and ask for CIT Officer)